Supposedly 'pro-life' Ted Cruz wants the US to execute a lot more people

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The Justice Department 'should schedule execution dates for every single eligible death row inmate,' Cruz wrote on Wednesday.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who touts himself as a champion of the "pro-life" cause, wrote an op-ed for Fox News Wednesday applauding Attorney General William Barr's decision to schedule a record-breaking number of federal executions before Donald Trump leaves office in January.

Under Barr, the Justice Department resumed federal executions in July 2019 after a 17-year lapse, a controversial move even among conservative groups.

According to CNN, eight federal inmates have already been put to death this year and Barr has added another five to the schedule — squeezing in a few more executions just before President-elect Joe Biden's January inauguration.

"What is clear is that this administration wants these prisoners dead before Joe Biden takes office," Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, told CNN on Monday.

But Cruz's Wednesday op-ed praises Barr's decision, claiming federal executions are the best way to uphold law and order.

"Barr's decision to set execution dates should be applauded for upholding the rule of law, serving justice deterring crime, and helping bring closure to victims' families," Cruz wrote in his Fox News op-ed.

But according to the American Civil Liberties Union, there is no evidence that supports the death penalty as a deterrent to future crime.

In fact, the ACLU notes, states with the death penalty don't have lower crime rates — or murder rates — than states without it, and states that have abolished the death penalty have not seen an increase in crime and murder rates over time.

The National Criminal Justice Reference Service, in a 2006 study paid for by the Department of Justice, found no evidence that capital punishment had a deterrent effect.

"Our conclusion is that there is little empirical evidence in favor of the deterrence hypothesis," the study found.

But Cruz's op-ed demonstrates equally little regard for empirical evidence.

"The Justice Department can and should do more to enforce lawful capital sentences," he wrote.

In fact, he added, the Justice Department should not only implement the death penalty in the currently scheduled cases but should also schedule executions for every federal prisoner on death row — just over 50 at last count.

"This justice delayed is justice denied," Cruz wrote. "That's why the Justice Department should schedule execution dates for every single eligible death row inmate."

Even with Cruz's longstanding support of the death penalty — a stance he built his career on — he also touts his "pro-life" convictions.

Cruz has long voted to overturn abortion rights and access to women's health care.

He earned a score of 0% on NARAL's "Congressional Record on Choice" scorecard, and has the dubious distinction of voting to confirm more than two dozen Trump judicial nominees who oppose abortion rights since 2019.

According to NARAL, he's reliably voted to restrict abortion rights. Cruz has also voted against women's access to no-copay contraception, as well as for Planned Parenthood to be disqualified from participating in certain federal programs.

"The fight for life is far from over. ... Now, more than ever, I remain committed to restore a culture where every human life is respected and protected as a precious gift from God," he said in a February speech on the Senate floor, just months before expressing a fervent support for executing as many federal inmates as possible.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.